When it comes to renovating a shared strata property there are a lot of rules to be considered. Strata scheme works on the principle of separating common from the individual property which is why making any changes in this type of living space might seem like a stressful and time-consuming task. However, if you follow these tips, your renovation will end up being a walk in the park.
Before you dive in, you have to make plans and know exactly what type of changes you intend on making, and setting your budget. The body corporate will show you restrictions you have to follow depending on the kind of renovation you propose. The first ones are cosmetic changes which are generally less likely to cause trouble. They are very straight forward and they include some surface tasks such as installing handrails on the walls. Other renovations differ a little bit. If you plan on changing light attachments or reconfiguring of inner walls, you should definitely first seek approval from the body corporate. This will help you figure out what it is that you’re allowed to do what are the things you should probably avoid changing.
Get informed about the by-laws
Being informed about the by-laws pretty much boils down to knowing exactly what part of your living area is your individual property and what parts fall under a common property. The by-laws generally provide some of the basic rules you should keep in mind when living in a strata title. The previously mentioned body corporate owns and maintains everything beneath your floor coverings and paint which means you can renovate everything from the interior walls in. You are allowed to, for instance, rearrange the kitchen cabinetry, renovate inner walls, etc. However, when it comes to changing common property which includes windows, the walls, front and balcony doors, you’ll have to ask for permission. If you stumble upon some very specific difficulties or tricky situations that you’re not sure you know the solution to, there are always alternative ways of handling this potential problem. If going through the by-laws doesn’t help, you can always discuss the problem with your neighbors, turn to Google for some additional information, or simply call upon professionals such as Eling Strata Management that will set the records straight.
Check the insurance
Another aspect you need to take care of is the insurance of the people you’re hiring to renovate your lot, tear down walls, and so on. You need to keep in mind that the building is common owned which means that you have to make sure that any possible damages are fully covered and insured because otherwise, the body corporate will have to get involved and take care of things. What you also need to check is whether their certificate of currency is up-to-date or not. Accidents can happen and you surely wouldn’t want to be the one who has to pay if anything was to happen to a neighbor or a lot property. Taking all of this into consideration, using a mate or a mate of a mate to fix some house-related issues or re-tile your bathroom is probably not the wisest decision. Lastly, don’t forget to update your own insurance regularly, just to be sure.
Communication is the key
This one goes for any type of communal living. Being friendly, understanding and tolerant with your neighbors will most definitely make the whole renovation process much easier. In other words, try to take their peace and privacy into account. As an act of courtesy, give your neighbors a warning about the forthcoming renovations by letting them know when they are about to start and approximately how long it will take to finish everything. Your neighbors will without a doubt understand your situation. After all, noise and banging are a part of renovating any place. However, if you don’t warn them about your plans, they have a full right to get in touch with the body corporate and try to stop you. So it is in everybody’s best interest to keep friendly relations with each other.
Dos and don’ts
Lastly, keeping a track of what you can or cannot do throughout the renovation process is very important. When it comes to the walls, painting, and papering is generally acceptable, but if you’re planning to cut holes or remove the walls entirely, you have to ask for permission. Replacing kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities shouldn’t be a problem. However, for any other changes that might end up causing a leak, you will also need prior approval. Also, retrofitting the downlights can cause an issue for the building’s fire safety certificate if they are improperly installed, so make sure to discuss this aspect in advance as well.
In conclusion, renovating a strata building does seem like a time-consuming task which includes a lot of detailed planning and following a large number of rules. But all things considered, if you plan ahead, keep friendly relations with the people around you and follow these steps, you will have nothing to worry about.